Coming off a pretty forgettable 3 day stretch that had a road loss to GT and a home loss to UNC, can NC State recover in a home game against Louisville? NC State gets a chance to earn a critical quadrant 1 win that it badly needs to keep its currently slim NCAA hopes alive.
The Pack currently sits 59th in the NCAA's NET, 56th in KenPom and 65th in the RPI (if you believe that one isn't quite dead). Fundy was correct when he said the team was playing its way out of a NCAA bid.
All we know about the Pack really is that we don't know. I think this has been one of the more frustrating seasons in my NC State basketball fandom (which stretches back almost 40 years) because we've had some much uncertainty. Between injuries, chemistry, suspensions, it's been one hit after another. It's hard to say what you're going to get out of NC State on any given evening, or even who is going to be healthy enough to play. I don't see any of that changing between now and Saturday, so let's call NC State a big question mark.
What is the Pack up against? If we're honest, Louisville is a bit of a buzz saw (or at least as much as there is in this year's version of men's college basketball). Here's some quick stats to highlight:
- Record: 17-3 (8-1 in the ACC)
- Coming in on a 6 game win streak which includes road wins at Duke, Pitt and Notre Dame. They get a chance to go for 7 in a row tonight at BC.
- Offensive efficiency: 19th
- Defensive efficiency: 10th
- Top 20 in defensive ability regarding opposition 3 point and 2 point shooting percentage.
- Top 10 in 3 point shooting percentage.
- Fairly low foul rate.
- Six out of the top seven players getting minutes are juniors or seniors. This is an old team by college basketball's standards.
- KenPom and AP ranking in the top 10. They're currently 12th in the NCAA's NET.
- All coached by one of the best in the game, Chris Mack.
If we're looking at any way State might have an edge, it is that Louisville's defense is fairly passive. They're inside out and focusing on stopping opponents from getting good shots as opposed to turning them over. They also block a lower than average percentage of shots by the opponent. State should be able to work the ball around to try and generate good shots. State also has to hope that Bryce regains his mid-range touch.
Fool's Gold for NC State would be settling for the "open" 3 point shot. The stats say that Louisville's opposition shots a very large percentage of their shots from the 3 point line. Louisville's big men are 6 ft 7, 6 ft 10 and 6 ft 11, so opponents tend to fire up 3 point looks. They're shooting a low percentage on those 3 point attempts, so these shots are seemingly well covered. Given State's shooting woes (the Pack are currently 233rd nationally in 3 point shooting %) and lack of height (UNC killed State on the glass), this seems like a quick way for NC State to shoot its way out of the game.
KenPom likes Louisville on the road by 4 and thinks the Pack has a 38% chance of winning. It feels even lower to me.
- Who wins?23 votes
NC State Wolfpack26.09%
- Does CJ Bryce break out of his recent slump?23 votes